Writer’s Quote Wednesday // Marcus Tullius Cicero

Hello and happy Wednesday to you all! Congrats on making it halfway, if you are in need of a little push to get you through the rest of the way I encourage you to check out Writer’s Quote Wednesday. It’s a weekly event hosted by Colleen at Silver Threading. Every Wednesday bloggers share their favorite quotes to help motivate and inspire each other to keep going. It’s pretty amazing.

My contribution for the week is from Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Just about everyone has heard of the roman philosopher and politician Cicero, who lived and died during the times of Julius Caesar. Born 3 January 106 BC to a wealthy family of Arpinium he is widely considered one of Rome’s greatest orators and prose stylists. His influence on the Latin language was so immense that the subsequent history of prose in not only Latin but European languages up to the 19th century was said to be either a reaction against or a return to his style.

According to Michael Grant, “the influence of Cicero upon the history of European literature and ideas greatly exceeds that of any other prose writer in any language”. Despite that Cicero himself considered his political work to be his greatest achievement. He fought to uphold republican principles in the final civil wars that eventually destroyed the Roman Republic.

In the end the murder of Julius Cesar on the Ides of March in 44 BC would secure Cicero’s own execution shortly after. Cicero championed a return to the traditional republican government and in the ensuing power struggle Cicero found himself the enemy of Mark Antony, a Cesar supporter and the other prominent politician of the time. He had a habit of attacking Antony in speeches and so was named enemy of the state.

He was executed by soldiers in 43 BC and his severed hands and head were then, as a final revenge of Mark Antony, displayed in the Roman Forum. His last words are said to have been, “There is nothing proper about what you are doing, soldier, but do try to kill me properly.”

“Even if you have nothing to write, write and say so.”

— Cicero

With this quote Cicero puts into words my primary defense against writer’s block, which is to write anyway. If you have no subject write about how it feels to have nothing to write about. Tell your readers how frustrating it is and how much you long to be able to find the words again. Be detailed, be descriptive, use as much metaphor and feeling as you can.

Write is as a poem. Write it as a story. Hell, write you writer’s block into a song! Write about your frustrations in such a way so that your readers can feel it too. Make them feel what it’s like when the words won’t flow and you mind gets stuck. Write 250 words, then 750, then write 1000 words all on not being write anything. By the end you might just write something truly worth reading, despite what you thought was a failing of your mind and your imagination.

Because the truth is, writer’s block is just a day when writing is a bit harder than usual, and all that means is you have to work a little bit harder too.

Biographical information via Wikipedia and Britannica

Original image via Drew Coffman


4 Replies to “Writer’s Quote Wednesday // Marcus Tullius Cicero”

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